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where Leinster Square opens into a main street, I think

[science] time:2023-11-29 02:58:33 source:Shenshu ghost hidden network author:love click:87 clicks

P.S.--I have just thought that your remark about the much variation of monotypic genera was to show me that even in these, the smallest genera, there was much variability. If this be so, then do not answer; and I will so understand it.

where Leinster Square opens into a main street, I think

LETTER 62. TO J.D. HOOKER. February 23rd [1858].

where Leinster Square opens into a main street, I think

Will you think of some of the largest genera with which you are well acquainted, and then suppose 4/5 of the species utterly destroyed and unknown in the sections (as it were) as much as possible in the centre of such great genera. Then would the remaining 1/5 of the species, forming a few sections, be, according to the general practice of average good Botanists, ranked as distinct genera? Of course they would in that case be closely related genera. The question, in fact, is, are all the species in a gigantic genus kept together in that genus, because they are really so very closely similar as to be inseparable? or is it because no chasms or boundaries can be drawn separating the many species? The question might have been put for Orders.

where Leinster Square opens into a main street, I think

LETTER 63. TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, February 9th [1858].

I should be very much obliged for your opinion on the enclosed. You may remember in the three first volumes tabulated, all orders went right except Labiatae. By the way, if by any extraordinary chance you have not thrown away the scrap of paper with former results, I wish you would return it, for I have lost my copy, and I shall have all the division to do again; but DO NOT hunt for it, for in any case I should have gone over the calculation again.

Now I have done the three other volumes. You will see that all species in the six volumes together go right, and likewise all orders in the three last volumes, except Verbenaceae. Is not Verbenaceae very closely allied to Labiatae? If so, one would think that it was not mere chance, this coincidence. The species in Labiatae and Verbenaceae together are between 1/5 and 1/6 of all the species (15,645), which I have now tabulated.

Now, bearing in mind the many local Floras which I have tabulated (belting the whole northern hemisphere), and considering that they (and authors of D.C. Prodromus) would probably take different degrees of care in recording varieties, and the genera would be divided on different principles by different men, etc., I am much surprised at the uniformity of the result, and I am satisfied that there must be truth in the rule that the small genera vary less than the large. What do you think? Hypothetically I can conjecture how the Labiatae might fail--namely, if some small divisions of the Order were now coming into importance in the world and varying much and making species. This makes me want to know whether you could divide the Labiatae into a few great natural divisions, and then I would tabulate them separately as sub-orders. I see Lindley makes so many divisions that there would not be enough in each for an average. I send the table of the Labiatae for the chance of your being able to do this for me. You might draw oblique lines including and separating both large and small genera. I have also divided all the species into two equal masses, and my rule holds good for all the species in a mass in the six volumes; but it fails in several (four) large Orders--viz. Labiatae, Scrophulariaceae, Acanthaceae, and Proteaceae. But, then, when the species are divided into two almost exactly equal divisions, the divisions with large genera are so very few: for instance, in Solanaceae, Solanum balances all others. In Labiatae seven gigantic genera balance all others (viz. 113), and in Proteaceae five genera balance all others. Now, according to my hypothetical notions, I am far from supposing that all genera go on increasing forever, and therefore I am not surprised at this result, when the division is so made that only a very few genera are on one side. But, according to my notions, the sections or sub-genera of the gigantic genera ought to obey my rule (i.e., supposing a gigantic genus had come to its maximum, whatever increase was still going on ought to be going on in the larger sub-genera). Do you think that the sections of the gigantic genera in D.C. Prodromus are generally NATURAL: i.e. not founded on mere artificial characters? If you think that they are generally made as natural as they can be, then I should like very much to tabulate the sub-genera, considering them for the time as good genera. In this case, and if you do not think me unreasonable to ask it, I should be very glad of the loan of Volumes X., XI., XII., and XIV., which include Acanthaceae, Scrophulariaceae, Labiatae, and Proteaceae,-- that is, the orders which, when divided quite equally, do not accord with my rule, and in which a very few genera balance all the others.

I have written you a tremendous long prose.


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